Rallies against Islamic law draw counter-protests across US

Jeff Sessions

Demonstrators gathered to protest against Islamic law take part in a rally Saturday, June 10, 2017, in NY.

Across the country, Saturday, the group ACT for America is staging protests against Sharia law, Islam's system of religious and moral laws. He was taken to a hospital and was in stable condition later Saturday, rally organizer Pax Hart said.

Opponents of anti-Shariah demonstrations being held around the country Saturday say the events stoked unfounded fears and a distorted view of the religion. About twice as many counter-protesters marshaled across the street.

Seattle police used tear gas to disperse rowdy demonstrators and made several arrests following an anti-Shariah rally and a much larger counter-protest.

Other marches against the Islamic law have drawn larger counter-rallies in some USA cities.

The Hartford Courant reports that speakers said the USA must get rid of Shariah, which they claimed directs its followers to kill women, gay people and anyone deemed an enemy of Islam.

"We want to counter (the anti-Shariah march) and keep it as positive as possible, and educate people about what Islam teaches", Afzali said in a phone interview. But the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, calls it the largest American anti-Muslim organization.

In front of the Trump building in downtown Chicago, about 30 people demonstrated against Islamic law and in favor of President Donald Trump, shouting slogans and holding signs that read "Ban Sharia" and "Sharia abuses women".

A similar scene played out in a park near a NY courthouse, where counter-protesters sounded air-horns and banged pots and pans in an effort to silence an anti-Shariah rally.

A confrontation that included shoving and punching occurred, The Star Tribune reported. There was at least one arrest that took place during the rally. Just across the street, a larger and more vocal group of around 75 people chanted at them, "Racists out!"

The two groups drowned each other out as they yelled chants. Local activists set up an "Ask an American Muslim" booth where attendees could meet and learn about their Muslim neighbors.

In Idaho, a Republican lawmaker earlier this year introduced a measure aimed at preventing Shariah from being applied, though an Idaho judge has never based a ruling on Islamic law.

But while there is little likelihood that Shariah would ever supplant US law, some states have already moved to insulate themselves against the possibility.

"The theme of today is drowning out racism", said counter-protester Tony Murphy, standing next to demonstrators with colorful earplugs.

Marches against Islamic law are scheduled in more than two dozen cities across the United States.

Denise Zamora, 39, of Upland said the group wasn't opposed to all Muslims.

Counter-protesters say that messages like the ones being relayed at the event are anti-Islamic and encourage a culture of hate.

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